Much lip service is paid by comics fans and professionals to the high ideal
of originality. Each new publisher that enters the fray promises to stretch
the creative envelope of the art form. Each new publisher fails to do so.
They fail for the same reason that Crossing The Line will not receive the
attention it deserves. Originality requires risk for readers (I know I like
superheroes; is this worth buying?) and for creators and publishers (I know
they will buy superheroes; will this sell?).
Crossing the Line offers much that is original.
Admittedly, the plot of Crossing... only nudges the envelope. A scientific
experiment to stimulate brain activity accidentally envelops the earth. The
intelligence of every living thing is augmented; higher animals can talk,
mentally retarded humans are elevated to average intellect, and the average Joe now experiences visions.
It is the original style of Crossing... that makes its envelope bulge. Despite its fantasy elements, this title has a startlingly real feel. Believable characterization and dialog, and an aversion to melodrama under gird its visual and verbal story. But it is its art that plants its literary feet on the ground.
Uncomplicated and clear visual storytelling, and a gritty art that belongs only to creator James Reade, are the first real tear. Reade wisely and thankfully ignores the current tend among comics artists to wildly exaggerate human anatomy and movement, smothering story with eye candy. The majority of Reade's peers would be smart to follow his probably
unintentional but nevertheless heroic lead.
The final rip in the marketing envelope of Crossing... is its magazine format. Comic book stores don't like magazine-sized comic books, especially black and white interior pages with only limited color on covers.
But for those readers and retailers who are sincerely interested in originality, and are willing to put their money where their mouth is, Crossing The Line is much recommended. MV
Crossing The Line #1/32 pgs. & $2.95 from Rip Roarin' Comics/sold by at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail.
Shudder at Vance's Light's End stories at www.starland.com.